Bridge View Residence, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Scope of Project/Services

Spencer McCombe and Ray Goddard designed this home while employed by Newport Collaborative Architects. This new construction home on a 10,000 square foot footprint was built in a beautiful neighborhood overlooking the bay in Portsmouth, RI. The client was very involved in the design, with specific floor plan ideas. While we handled all the exterior design, we provided guidance and feedback on the interiors.   

Special Requests or Needs of the Client or Job

The property was in a flood zone, and the owners were concerned their luxury residence would look like a “Florida home on wooden piers,” a common style for homes built in flood-vulnerable areas.  We also had to keep in mind multiple sets of regulations, including the design regulations of the neighborhood, the town height requirements, and federal regulations for homes built in a V-Zone.

Challenges and Solutions  

Because the property was on a peninsula sticking out into Narragansett Bay, we had to design the home to be V-Zone compliant while avoiding the “built on piers” look. To address this concern, we carefully hid the piers behind a beautiful stone wall which will break away if needed. Building the home into a gentle hill, we used the wall to create the illusion of the home having been built on a stone foundation.

The owners also needed the extra space a basement level would have provided, but because of the flood vulnerability, we instead built a third floor which was squeezed in right to the town’s strict height regulations. We used an eclectic roofline to design an interesting-looking home while providing the space the owners needed.  

Finally, the envelope we could build on was long to the view and dictated the shape of the home. We carefully designed the home to make sure every room enjoyed a view of the water.   

Special or Remarkable Features

The home has a spectacular curved family room, with a deck above it, looking directly south down Narragansett Bay with the Newport Bridge framed in the distance. The design provides a full 180-degree view of the water.

There is also a sunken pool and hot tub in the backyard, looking out to the water.

Another special feature is the screened-in porch with a built-in kitchen. The porch sits at the SW corner of the home, providing a lovely wind-protected spot to sit in the afternoon with water views to the west and straight down to the bay. 

What We Enjoyed Most About this Project

“This was one of our earlier V-Zone compliant projects, and we really learned a lot about designing in a flood zone. The collaboration with the owner was special, too. She’d come up with an idea, and we’d toss it around and work together. We went to one of their kids’ weddings. You get to be such close friends with some clients, and this was one of them.”  ~Spencer McCombe

Contractors and Other Subcontractors

Contractor: Behan Brothers

Remote Meetings Available: When requested, we use Zoom to accommodate the needs of our clients and contractors wherever they are in the world.

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